Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Monday, August 20, 2018

Villiers-sur-Yonne, July 20-21

Since we were so early stopping near Tannay, we decided we would bike up (and I mean up!) to the village, as we heard they had reestablished vineyards that had been decimated by disease. The climb was tough, a steady 1.5 k up a steep hill. When we got to the top we discovered that the cave mentioned in our guidebook was not open. Neither was the small grocery. The boulangerie had a sign on the door that said they would reopen at 4 if they still had any bread. Since it was about 3:45, we decided to wait around. About 10 after a woman walked by, saw us waiting and said they might open at 5 so we gave up. We had seen someone walking with a full grocery bag, however, so we backtracked up the hill and found a small supermarket. Besides the usual supplies, they had a few bottles of the local wine. We bought a couple and headed back down to the boat, the bike pedals untouched all the way.
Friday morning we were off.

We had been told that there was a nice small halte in the village of Villiers-sur-Yonne, complete with free water and electricity and a nice beach. It was just 10 k down the canal from our stop near Tannay so we planned to make it (another) short day. Before noon we were tied up just across from the village. As advertised, there was room for three or four boats and a couple of electric plugs, a water tap and easy access to the Yonne River.

Villiers-sur-Yonne across from the moorings

The beach

Making use of the afternoon, we cycled the 4 k over the hill to the small village of Dornecy. It must have been very prosperous because it featured two wash houses and still contains many fine buildings.

We knew there wouldn’t be much in such a small village as Villiers and that was confirmed, but when we wandered over there was a small box truck unloading a beer tap in the square in front of the small town hall. It turns out there would be a fete that evening, with the usual music, food and drink.
That box truck turned out to be a “fete in a box.” They unloaded the tap, a few kegs of beer and boxes of wine, then pulled it to the other side of the square, opened up the side and it became the stage, complete with sound system. Luckily for us in this case, the band, a guitarist, a stand up bassist and drummer playing old time rock and roll, were not bad and the volume was kept reasonable. We had a couple glasses of wine with a Belgian couple that had pulled up on a very old barge and enjoyed the show.

Saturday we did boat chores and did a little bike riding along the canal. Sunday morning we were off the 9 k to Clamecy, the next larger town on the canal.


  1. What a great life. I’m already missing it although you two do a lot more cycling than we’ve done this year. I don’t know why, but we chose to walk everywhere we went this time, except for the week we had the car thanks to our furry visitor...then, of course, we indulged ourselves in long day trips! Is the water cold in the river? It sounds wonderful to be swimming so much, but I’m too chicken to get into any water under 25 degrees (Celcius). You make it sound wonderful and the Nivernais looks dreamy!

  2. PS Your photos are lovely. They capture the rural magic of France perfectly!

  3. PPS: a quick question and Sorry to ask you here, but I don’t have an email address for you. Would you happen to have the name and location of the company that made your windows for Oldtimer. I remember you saying you’d taken your old lady to the yard to have them done, but I can’t remember where it was. We want to have new windows, so I thought I’d ask you as you were clearly happy with the result.

    1. We were very happy with the result so I'm happy to pass on the info.
      It was Omru Scheepsramen in Stevensweert, near Maasbracht. Not that it matters to you but Yvo speaks very good English and his wife, Peggy, is a yacht broker in the Stevensweert marina. They arranged winter moorings for us and Yvo's crew did the work while we were gone. When we got back in windows!

      Thanks for the complements on the pics. All credit to the Iphone.



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